Rating: 94+ Points"
Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The Wine Advocate - "The single vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard from the Oakville Corridor is a monster. A 1,100-case blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, it is bursting with aromas of charcoal, scorched earth, barbecue smoke, lead pencil shavings, graphite, cassis, blackberries, and oak. Dense purple to the rim and very closed, this is a big, muscular, full-bodied effort meant for serious long-term aging. Its potential is extraordinary, but I wouldn’t want to touch a bottle for 5-8 years. It should last for three decades or more.
Wine Enthusiast - "Not the greatest Backus ever, and not in the league of the 2001 and 2005. More akin to the 2000. But shows the power and superb tannin development of this fine Oakville vineyard. Nearly 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s flamboyant in blackberry, black currant and cedar flavors, with a grip of mineral or graphite. Should age quite well at least for the next 12 years, gradually losing tannins and gaining sweetness."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby. Superripe aromas of cassis, graphite and mint. Sweeter and more aromatic in the mouth than the Insignia, showing a finer-grained texture and more early finesse. A rocky character and enticing violet perfume lift the middle palate, but the substantial tannins currently cut off the wine's finishing fruit. This will need patience.
Rating: 92+ Points"
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.